Board tweaks Obermeyer plan |

Board tweaks Obermeyer plan

Naomi Havlen

Planners for the Obermeyer Project are hoping their redevelopment of a run-down corner in Aspen will go forward with a few changes after Aspen Valley Hospital pulled out as the project’s anchor tenant.

The proposed changes advanced Monday afternoon when they were approved by the board that initially recommended the project to the Aspen City Council. The COWOP (Convenience and Welfare Of The Public) task force will recommend approval of a free-market housing unit and a deed-restricted housing unit in the space that was slated for the hospital’s medical offices.

In addition, 5,500 square feet in the project’s lowest garage level that was meant as medical file storage for the hospital may not be built to save costs. And remaining square footage on the project’s second floor could be used as commercial space.

The Obermeyer Place project involves redeveloping a light-industrial neighborhood just south of Rio Grande Park into a mix of free-market and affordable housing, offices, and service and commercial shops. Demolition of the building at the site is under way; completion is slated for summer of 2005.

The project was approved by the City Council in April 2003. The plans included 9,000 square feet worth of medical offices for Aspen Valley Hospital, but the hospital exited the project in April, citing ongoing financial troubles.

The hospital’s departure hurt the project financially, but landowner and ski-clothing magnate Klaus Obermeyer agreed to loan the project $2 million late last month to keep the project going.

Monday afternoon the COWOP task force discussed the importance of preserving space zoned as service oriented, rather than giving an office designation anywhere in the project.

Group members agreed to endorse keeping space zoned service-commercial-industrial that has already been leased out and changing the remaining 2,665 square feet to “neighborhood commercial,” with the option to revert back to service oriented if a demand for that type of space presents itself.

But many on the task force noted that there is a negligible difference between service-commercial-industrial and neighborhood commercial spaces. A list of approved uses for neighborhood commercial spaces includes beauty shops, record stores, shoe repair and dry cleaning.

The Obermeyer staff also proposed that the additional parking spaces meant for the medical offices be kept in the design, so they can be sold to make up for the lost revenue from the hospital’s departure.

The City Council will review the plans at its meeting on Tuesday, May 25.

Naomi Havlen’s e-mail address is

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